“I HAVE always seen music as a gift, I think everyone has the potential to thrive, whether you are the best performer or not it does not matter,” Mount Gambier resident Laura Small said on her involvement with music in the city.
“I was very lucky when I was growing up because I had a strong community of musicians around me that helped me to appreciate music and improve my skills.
“Now as an adult musician I can help to foster those young musicians in the region.”
Helping many young musicians to understand their potential and providing an opportunity they may otherwise not have had,
Ms Small will today receive the Australia Day Mount Gambier Young Citizen of the Year Award.
Since moving to the Blue Lake city four years ago, the talented musician has made herself known for her involvement in the city concert band and brass band, as a musical director with Mayfair Singers as well as an instrumental teacher at MacDonald Park and Reidy Park primary schools and Grant and Mount Gambier high schools.
Last year she also partnered with North Primary School, working as a mentor for young musicians and helping with the newly formed Mount Gambier Combined Schools Band.
Witnessing the students’ passion and enthusiasm to learn, Ms Small said she feels lucky to be a part of their musical journey.
“Watching these young people thrive and have a real passion for it is amazing and infectious, when you see them love it, you start loving it more yourself,” she said.
“I have one private student who only started at the very end of 2016, she has gone from never playing base guitar to going on a tour with her school to Melbourne in a rock band and she’s only in Year 8 – it’s amazing.
“I also love being able to introduce students to each other and form those musical connections because particularly if you are a young musician just getting private lessons can be quite isolating.”
Now settled in the city, Ms Small said she cannot see herself living anywhere but Mount Gambier.
“It is a great place to live and there is such a strong community feel that I did not have in Port Macquarie where I grew up,” she said.
“I love being involved in the community with music and hope to continue to do so for years to come.”
Grateful to be selected as the recipient of the young citizen of the year award, Ms Small said she is still struggling to grasp the enormity of it all.
“To me it is such a massive honour and I’m sure on Australia Day when I am presented with it, it will really hit me,” she said.
“I feel really humbled by it, I do not know who else was nominated for this particular year, but I know previous recipients and it is an incredible group of people.
“To now be a part of that is amazing.”